LAKELAND, Fla. — The Dartmouth baseball team capped a successful spring break trip by defeating Bradley at Henley Field on Saturday afternoon in the RussMatt Invitational, 7-4. Junior Jeff Keller stroked a pair of two-run doubles to help the Big Green improve to 11-1 on the season — their best 12-game start in program history — and take eight of the nine games they played in Florida.
Mike Tauchman drove in all four runs for Bradley (9-11) with a two-run homer and a bases-loaded single. As a team the Braves collected seven hits while Dartmouth managed just five, but Bradley committed three costly errors in the field to help the Green.
The Dartmouth bats went to work on Brave starter David Koll right away as sophomore Matt Parisi drew a walk and scored on double to the left-center gap off the bat of Goodrich, who took third on the throw to the plate. Senior Ennis Coble drove in Goodrich with a grounder to short, but the throw to first was wild, allowing Coble to advance to second. After a wild pitch, Selzer also hit a grounder to the shortstop, who fumbled the ball as Coble trotted home for a 3-0 Big Green lead.
That lead grew to 5-0 in the sixth when Selzer drew a one-out walk from reliever Stephen Toma, sophomore Nick Lombardi doubled him to third and both scored on Keller’s first two-bagger.
Senior left-hander Michael Johnson (3-0) had little trouble with the Braves lineup, allowing just two hits over the first five innings and facing the minimum in four of those five frames. In his sixth and final inning, however, Tauchman touched him for a two-run blast, his second of the year, to make it a three-run game once again. After surrendering a double, Johnson retired the next two hitters to avoid any further damage. His final line consisted of two runs over six stanzas on five hits and one walk while striking out six.
Tauchman brought Bradley back within a single run when he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh against senior southpaw Kyle Hunter. His single back through the box allowed Tyler Leffler, who had doubled, and David Compitello to score and put the tying run on second base. Hunter then induced a routine grounder to Parisi at second, who stepped on second for the force to preserve the 5-4 lead.
Dartmouth got those two runs back in the top of the eighth with the help of the Bradley defense again. Selzer reached first on a throwing error by the third baseman with one out, and after Lombardi was plunked by reliever Andy Johnson, the two moved up a base on a wild pitch. Keller then yanked a pitch down the left-field line for his second two-run double of the game, giving the Big Green some breathing room at 7-4.
In the bottom half, freshman Michael Danielak retired the side in order with a pair of strikeouts, and sophomore Thomas Olson came on to close the game out in the ninth, surrendering just a one-out walk before getting the final out and recording his fifth save of the year.
Keller was the lone Big Green batter with two hits on the day, and Selzer and Lombardi each scored twice.
Taking the loss was Koll (1-2), despite giving up just one hit in his four innings on the mound. He also walked two and gave up the first three runs of the game, two of which were earned.
Dartmouth returns to Hanover to host its home opener on Wednesday, March 27 at 3p.m. when it welcomes Siena to Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park for the earliest home game in the program’s history. Bradley also plays that day at SIU Edwardsville at 6 p.m. (CDT).
Notes: Lombardi extended his hitting streak to 12 games dating back to last season, and he has hit safely in all 10 games he has played in this year ... Coble’s nine-game hit streak was snapped, however ... Johnson is now 11-2 in his career, a winning percentage of .846, which is the third-best in Dartmouth history, right behind teammate Cole Sulser’s .850 ... the all-time leader is Ted Olson ’36 who went 18-2 (.900) ... the Big Green had been 10-1 in both 1958 and 1998, but lost that 12th game.